My Thoughts on Technology and Jamaica: Boeing and the HELTD Direct Energy Weapon - StarShip Troopers Death Star in Revenge of the Sith

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Boeing and the HELTD Direct Energy Weapon - StarShip Troopers Death Star in Revenge of the Sith

I prefer the most just peace to the most just war that was ever waged

Cicero, Letters to Atticus

Looks like Boeing is getting serious about Directed Energy Weapons with the upcoming demo of the HELTD (High Energy Laser Technology Demonstrator) Truck Mounted Directed Energy Weapon, or “Laser”, Austin Powers: The Spy who Shagged Me (1999) style as stated in the article “Zap! Boeing builds truck-mounted laser weapon”, published JUNE 27, 2011 4:18 PM PDT by Tim Hornyak, CNET News - Crave.

Please note, due to the Star Wars and Death Star associations with Hollywood, Military types dislike the word “Laser”. As this word, really, is a general purpose acronym for Light Amplified by Stimulated Emission of Radiation. Still I can help but poke fun at comparisons to the Death Star “Laser” that appears being partially built at the end of the movie Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith (2005)!

Quick note for the avid trucking fans: it’s an eight (8) wheeler HEMTT (Heavy Expanded Mobility Tactical Truck) as shown in the picture below:

And here was I thinking it was only RayTheon who had been developing Directed Energy Weapons! 

RayTheon’s entrant was a modification of the ship based automated 20mm anti-aircraft Phalanx, a ship based variant of the Centurion system developed by RayTheon. Their design modifications was to remove the 20mm anti-aircraft cannon and upgrade the Radar Guidance system, nicknamed R2-D2 due to its domed shape and add on a Directed Energy Weapon or “Laser”.

Clever hack, as this means all US Navy ship with the existing Phalanx system can get a Directed Energy Weapon with all the advantages of unlimited ammunition (unless your Nuclear reactor runs out of power!) and silent weapon firing without giving away your position on the cheap.

This as the recoil exhaust heat and gun noise paints a bright pictures at nights during armed night conflict. Not to mention engine noise as well as engine heat signature.

This I had written about in my blog article entitled “Telecom Providers and Raytheon - Star Wars on the high Seas”. Boeing possibly realizing this, may thus be reviving their Directed Energy Program, as after all, they do more than just make airplanes and make plans to conquer space as evidenced from my rash of blog articles mentioning Boeing, in order of appearance:

  1. Telecom Providers and Raytheon - Star Wars on the high Seas
  2. Telecom Providers and Satellite Calling - For Your Eyes Only
  3. Alternative Energy and All-Electric Cars - Wargames
  4. Alternative Energy and the Ion Drive Engine - Star Trek and Andromeda
  5. Alternative Energy and Daedelus - Avatar and Planet Gliese 581g Next Door
  6. Alternative Energy and Virgin Intergalactic - District 9
Thus this article is no “flake, to paraphrase the foot-in-mouth insinuation by Fox News host Chris Wallace's with regards to the seriousness of Senator Michele Bachmann (R-Minn) bid for the US Presidential nomination on the GOP ticket as stated in the article “Bachmann dismisses Fox host's apology for "flake" question”, published June 27, 2011 12:36 PM By Lucy Madison, CBS News.

I have been following Boeing for quite some time now, being as I have been an avid follower of anything that relates to the Aerospace Industry and their use of Alternative Energy and Telecommunications Systems.

So I am anticipating this latest test by Boeing of what appears to be a revival of the Laser Avenger from 2009AD in the form of the HELTD (High Energy Laser Technology Demonstrator), as its is the next step in making Directed Energy Weapons portable, moving from Ship-mounted to truck-mounted and STILL packing a punch!

The HELTD (High Energy Laser Technology Demonstrator) is to be tested at White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico sometime in the latter part of 2011AD, to crib from the above article. Of greater interest to me is the fact that this Laser, which appears to be capable of shooting down manned and unmanned vehicles as was its predecessor the  Laser Avenger as stated in the article “Boeing Laser Avenger Shoots Down Unmanned Aerial Vehicle in Tests”, published January 26, 2009, Boeing.

Back then, Vice president and program director of Boeing Directed Energy Systems Gary Fitzmire, did his speech thing about the Laser Avenger's capabilities and advantages in battle, quote: “Small UAVs armed with explosives or equipped with surveillance sensors are a growing threat on the battlefield. Laser Avenger, unlike a conventional weapon, can fire its laser beam without creating missile exhaust or gun flashes that would reveal its position. As a result, Laser Avenger can neutralize these UAV threats while keeping our troops safe.”

Just like Raytheon’s modified Phalanx “Laser”!

This would mean that the Power Source is very efficient and compact and the guidance system on par with that of RayTheon’s, only smaller. Most likely too, the Diesel Generator or Flex-Fuel Generator, typical of the US Military will be gutted from the HEMTT (Heavy Expanded Mobility Tactical Truck).

This as the rash of development of Directed Energy Weapons points to more use of Batteries, Fuel Cells, mini-Nuclear Reactors and Alternative Energy to achieve portability in an Alternative Energy mix as part of the US Military’s push away from a dependence on Fossil Fuels that may be blocked during future military conflicts.

Thus in their design:

  1. Li-Ion (Lithium Ion) Batteries or better would power the onboard electronics and Radar Guidance systems
  2. Fuel Cells would power the Vehicle in a Range extender configuration with a Flex Fuel Engine
  3. Mini Nuclear Reactor to power the Laser (possibly I am going overboard on that one!!)
  4. Solar panels and possibly a mini wind turbine integrated into the Trucks design to recharge the batteries and power an observation post
With these modifications, not only will the design constraints be met in terms of weight and efficiency in the battlefield, but the modified HEMTT (Heavy Expanded Mobility Tactical Truck) and its HELTD (High Energy Laser Technology Demonstrator) would be rendered invisible to IR and Radar.

I foresaw Directed Energy Weapons in my April 2009AD chat with Shurpower Engineers en route to put generators on autostart, such as RayTheon’s design.

But Boeing has taken it to the next level by miniaturizing it down to truck size! Only a matter of time before the shoulder launched Human-portable versions of these Directed Energy Weapons appear, Starship Troopers (1997) style.

Great design, Boeing!

This design would generate no distinct heat signatures or be of any considerable mass to be deemed as nothing more than a simple army transport truck – unknowingly packing a Death Star Laser Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith (2005) style!

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